The glorious Hackney Empire is more associated with pantomime than opera, but last year it successfully hosted Die Walkure as part of the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn festival and this year it completes Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle with Jonathan Dove and Graham Vick’s adaptations of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. In the former, Siegfried overcomes dragons to rescue Brunnhilde from her ring of fire, and in the latter a world of corruption is exposed and overcome by self-sacrifice. This should be epic, wild and full of fabulous music and the Empire’s glorious auditorium should add to the sense of occasion. Whether an opera lover or a first-timer, this should be a pleasure for all the senses.
Grimeborn Festival marches on inexorably towards the dramatic conclusion of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, in Graham Vick and Jonathan Dove’s innovative reduction. Following on from the acclaimed productions of Das Rheingold, at the Arcola Theatre in 2019, and Die Walküre last summer at Hackney Empire, Arcola Theatre completes the Ring Cycle with a double bill of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Standing alone as a closed chapter within The Ring Cycle, Siegfried tells the story of the hero’s quest to rescue Brünnhilde from her flame-surrounded sleep on the rock, overcoming dwarves and dragons and guided by a magic woodbird on the way. Siegfried and Brünnhilde are two lost children of the Gods, the daughter and grandson of Wotan, and in Götterdämmerung they find themselves isolated in a world increasingly torn apart by corruption and fear. Their resilience, courage and love are tested by the arch-villain Hagen, and eventually it becomes clear that only through insight and sacrifice can they bring a conclusion to the flawed world they find themselves in. Brünnhilde initiates the end of an era and her self-immolation re-establishes equilibrium to allow for renewal and a chance for a better future. The circle completes. Presented by Arcola Theatre in association with Hackney Empire for two nights only! Please note: Sung in German with English surtitles.